More young people received medical services, but less often and the services were less expensive.
In general, medical treatments increase with age, as do the average costs. This logic was confirmed once again in 2020. What is striking, however, is that in comparison with the previous year, the share of “new” recipients, i.e. those with at least one benefit claim, increased among younger people (20-49), while the average per capita costs in this age group decreased. The regulatory testing requirement and the restrictions in the health system are likely to have led to this effect. In this extraordinary year, the decline in costs would have been much higher without the additional coronavirus benefits, especially among adolescents and young adults.
The youngest insured persons below the age of 10 generated significantly lower benefit costs in 2020 than in the previous year. This age group had less contact with pathogens than usual due to increased amount of time in the care of parents, and intensified hygiene measures. On top of this, further analysis indicates that at least some routine examinations and recommended basic vaccinations were also postponed, again leading to lower costs.
Older people were less able to do without regular medical care
A supplementary analysis excluding the costs associated with persons who died in the years under review reveals that costs rose steadily for the over-60s in 2020. The older the person, the bigger the difference on the previous year. The higher costs can be explained by the fact that the over-60s, as the largest part of the risk group, have long been the most affected by COVID-19. Their intensive, long-lasting and thus also costly treatment became particularly relevant with increasing age, and fewer services could be omitted from regular care than for younger people.